Monday, January 7, 2019

Best Music Software Gear of 2018

There have been so many amazing sample libraries, vsts, plugins, and patch libraries released in 2018 that I cannot include them all. I can only give you what I feel were the best ones that I have played. Full disclosure: there are many libraries like Jaeger by Audio Imperia and the The Christopher Young Collection by 8DIO that I have not been able to acquire yet, so they will not be included in my list. I also did not include any patch libraries to Synths I do not own but I'm confident there are many that would have made this list. I also have not included any mastering plugins, effect plugins, or sample packs in this list.
 So with that said I will begin with my favorite software gear of 2018. I'll begin with my favorite soundbank libraries to my favorite synth Omnisphere 2.5 !!

(Please Note: You will have to click the title link of each product to go to the product to learn more, I did not embed the link within the picture)
My Top Favorite Omnisphere 2 
2018 Soundset Releases:

Empty Fields – F.2 for Omnisphere 2 will be an ongoing project of 10 releases in a one year timespan (every 4/5 weeks a new release). Each release will contain 50 – 70 new patches, 10 – 20 multis and it will use a hybrid setup with using both new recorded material and using soundsources from the Omnisphere 2 core library. There have been 8 packs released so far with total is 420 presets and 80 multis.

Journeys- by Triple Spiral Audio
 Journeys is a soundset with a rich sound world featuring dystopian sounds, mystique surrealistic ambiences, cold harsh horror sounds and rich evolving futuristic and science-fiction like sounds. It draws its inspiration from Dante’s Inferno from the Divine Comedy (the patches The First Ring till the Ninth Ring are directly inspired from this), till the book the Stand from Stephen King till the old Mad Max movies.

Cloud Atlas - by Triple Spiral Audio
Cloud Atlas for Omnisphere 2 provides you the sounds to start a journey filled with mysterious leads, haunting basses, lush and evolving analog pads, neo-futuristic and dystopian soundscapes and raw and tribal arpeggiated sounds.

This soundset is completely created with new soundsources from original recordings of a variety of synths (ARP Solina SE IV, Roland D50 and super jv-1080 to name a few.

Airwave V3 by PluginGuru
 510 Patches (351 are ARP + BPM Basses, Drums, Percussion, Rhythmic PAD and ARP patches!), 95 Multis and 133 New SAMPLES including Sweeps, Transitions, Risers, BOOMS, Crash FX, Claps and so much more. This is a complimentary library which means many of these sounds are unique and designed specifically to enhance working with his other 2 AIRWAVE libraries.

This is a special collection created by 16 programmers (known as The European Sound Collective aka “ESC”). They programmed this library and GAVE it to PluginGuru to release to everybody. They have watched, learned and been inspired by the YouTube videos that have been released since 2009 and wanted to show their appreciation in a rather unique way!

Consisting of 250 patches and 50 sound sources, this is a very inspiring library that has a unique sound and vibe to it compared to other libraries released by PluginGuru.
Retrosphere V1 by PluginGuru
  378 inspiring patches that ALL use NEW SAMPLES from Oberheim analog synthesizers. Recorded with care and excellent attention by Kurt Strohmeier. Sounds include Bass, FX, Pad, Lead, Synth and Textures all recorded from various Oberheim synthesizers including the Matrix 1000 and OB-Xpander. These samples have a very unique “smooth and warm” quality to them that only come from vintage analog hardware!

Traveller by Triple Spiral Audio

Traveller is a soundset that puts you on a journey where dark and light meet – dark and light ambient pads and textures, mysteriously moving soundscapes with guitar drones, haunting arps and dark deep ominous basses. Hardly anything stands still where movement is a key feature.
The set contains 200 presets and 50 multis crafted for the new updated Omnisphere 2.5 and is created from the Omnisphere 2 soundsources.

Omnisphere Ylem II by Garhn Audio 
  This is a collection of 50 textures for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2. The sounds are designed primarily for atmospheric, otherworldly and experimental ambient, film and game music.

DARKless by String Audio

DARKless is more oriented towards bright tones and a positive/emotional mood, making it the perfect companion of LIGHTless, which has sound characteristics oriented towards dark tones and a mysterious/sinister and aggressive mood.
305 Soundsources
346 Patches
128 Multis

Delight 2 Scenes for Omnisphere 2 by Hollo Sound
 A real delight for lovers of lyrical, ethereal, mystical, emotional, evolving, soft, airy and transparent pads, strings and voxes.
You can find thick, dramatic and warm analogue synths, basses, leads, plucks.
There are playful and magical keys, arpeggios and BPM synchronized pads, plus a handful of useful drums, transitions and soundscapes.

A bank of 100 gritty, grainy and slightly obscure sounds, from lo-fi textures and serene pads to blistering leads and crunchy sequences, for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2. Fractal was created with unconventionality and uniqueness in mind, and provides the perfect solution for your industrial scores and compositions.

 Colossus III by The Unfinished 

Omnisphere Colossus III is a collection of 400 patches for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.

The third part of the Colossus series continues where the others left off, providing a wealth of sounds designed for atmospheric, Hollywood underscore and action music. Colossus III is particularly inspired by the work of Harry Gregson-Williams and James Newton Howard.

Omnisphere Cyberia is a collection of 300 patches for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.
It is designed to blend the electronic and organic worlds, in order to provide dynamic and dramatic, atmospheric sounds; full of grit, punch and wonder.

My Top Favorite Kontakt Instrument Releases of 2018:

Heavyocity Forzo Modern Brass

Recorded at the legendary Skywalker Sound, FORZO is the product of Heavyocity's world
class sound design team joining
forces with award
winning composer, Jason Graves, and A
list Hollywood Film Score Engineer Satoshi Mark Noguchi

Heavyocity Novo Synthetic Strings Pack 03
An unmatched anthology of vintage and modern string synthesizers.
Ranging from classic to contemporary, Synthetic Strings brims with all the warmth and depth that these iconic synths can muster.

Zero G Ethera EVI 2.0
 Zero-G Ethera EVI – Electro Virtual Instrument. Produced by award-winning sound designer and composer Stefano Maccarelli and featuring the critically acclaimed vocalist Clara Sorace, Ethera EVI takes you into an amazing world of stunning vocals, synths, arps, textures, bass, horns, drums, acoustic instruments and ambient sounds for all your cinematic and electronic music productions.
Gothic Instruments Dronar Master Edition
 DRONAR Master Edition is the flagship virtual instrument of Gothic Instruments’ hugely popular and award winning DRONAR series of atmospheric sound creation tools.

Developed for Native Instruments' free Kontakt Player, the 30GB (50GB uncompressed) Master Edition combines all the raw audio and 2,000+ presets from the first eight critically-acclaimed DRONAR modules into one huge beast of an instrument plug-in.

Ideal for creating dark and chilling soundscapes as well as uplifting ethereal and ambient music, the DRONAR Master Edition makes it easy to create and play highly expressive pads, patterns, textures and atmospheres for any genre.

8DIO Hybrid Tools Dark Prophecy
 Hybrid Tools – The Dark Prophecy (17GB compressed) is a new, dark, chapter in the saga of our evolving Hybrid Tools. Purely designed with true analog hardware synthesizers and expanding upon the latest trends in professional scores.

Arpology Cinematic Dimensions by Sample Logic
 Quadruples the power of the original ARPOLOGY with the addition of an all new 4-core performance engine, individually animating 4 instruments to create one cohesive sound.  The library boasts over 1,200 presets designed to deliver flexible sequencing and arpeggiated grooves for all types of cinematic productions.

Xosphere 2 by Sample Logic 
 XOSPHERE 2 is simply amazing. XO2 is not only an infinite sound sculpting virtual instrument, it also sports over 2,000 inspiring ready-made soundscape presets derived from content curated by leading sound design and virtual instrument companies. The result is a momentous achievement for Kontakt and for atmosphere creation. This truly is the last atmosphere tool you will ever need.

 Soundiron Rhythmic Odyssey

Rhythmic Odyssey is a flexible and highly-customisable loop-based virtual percussion instrument for Kontakt Player and a huge open-format modular loop library for use with any piece of software or hardware you wish. This deep and stylistically expansive collection focuses on dynamic live tuned and untuned percussion performances by British instrumentalist and media composer David Oliver.

Best Budget Priced Kontakt Libraries under $50

Holy Ambiences 3.0 by Soundiron

Holy Ambiences is an ambient synth pad, evolving soundscape and sound-designed ambient sample library for composers and sound artists. It captures a wintery, icy mood with shimmering and sparkling textures, lush, mystical backgrounds, warm musical patches and a mysterious vibe.
Lush Atmosphere is an ambient Kontakt Library featuring 3 ambient instruments, and amaster patch to mix and control them. Lush Atmosphere will be the secret sauce you throw into your mixes to add that lush ethereal sound.

Cosmos by Impact Soundworks
An evocative synth powered by atmospheric, pulsating, and ambient sounds and inspired by the wonders of outer space. Over 350 rhythmic phrases and ambiences, perfect for providing movement and underscore.

My Top Favorite Soft Synth releases of 2018

Omnisphere 2.5 (Update) by Spectrasonics

Arturia- Pigments Polychrome Software Synthesizer
 An immensely powerful wavetable and virtual analog software synthesizer, 20 years in the making. This is Pigments, and it’s going to change the way you make music.

Synapse Audio - DUNE 3
 DUNE 3 comes with many new patches crafted by expert sound designers. Since DUNE 3 is fully patch-compatible with DUNE 2, it includes its presets as well,
doubling the factory library size to more than 1000 patches.

HEXERACT by Auddict
 A powerful software synthesizer, multiplied with the added dimension of organic recording, leading to sonic possibilities not even remotely paralleled by any software or hardware currently available.

Rob Papen Go2

  Go2 which ships now with over 1000 inspirational presets!

And yes, Go2 has all of the controls visual at the same time but still has some unique features and sound for sure… which makes sure that it will boldly go to where no other synth in this category went before...

Retails for only $49

Herz-OG is a colossal 6.5Gb Kontakt Instrument synthesiser that’s packed full with over 15,000 separate samples. It comes with a unique custom Kontakt interface with a simple elegant design and fully functioning sequencer. Herz-OG comes with over 700 preset instruments that are merely your starting points on the road to creating the patches of your dreams. 
 I also obtained a lot of incredible libraries created in 2016-2017 that I wish I could include in this list but unfortunately this list is for everything released in 2018. I will give you a hint though, CL- Projects will certainly make this list for 2019! I also want to say that I have not been able to review Sonic Underworlds soundsets yet, but I am confident they would of made the list too. 

To Learn more, check out their websites below:

Cheers to a Huge 2019 !!

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